Diplomatic corps of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) flocked to a meeting in Ho Chi Minh City on July 8 to share in the jubilant mood as Vietnam and the Philippines celebrated the 35 th anniversary of diplomatic links.

The President of the Municipal Union of Friendship Organisations, Le Hung Quoc, emphasised that Vietnam has always considered the Philippines as an important partner in the region.

“We have always done our best to develop friendship and comprehensive cooperation with the Philippines on all scales, from bilateral to ASEAN and international,” the official said.

His view was echoed by the Philippines Ambassador, with both expressing satisfaction at impressive growth in trade revenues and investment between the two ASEAN members.

The Philippines currently ranks fourth among ASEAN investors in Vietnam . Its investment in HCM City alone reached 40.32 million USD with 25 current projects.

Bilateral trade turnover increased five-fold from almost 400 million USD in 2001 to over 2 billion USD in 2009, with Vietnam being a long-term major rice supplier for the Philippines . The two countries also signed an agreement on fisheries cooperation in 2010./.